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Ed Rachal Foundation Buys Frost Bank Plaza in Corpus Christi

Frost Bank Plaza in downtown Corpus Christi was on the bankruptcy auction block earlier this year. It was purchased July 27 by the Ed Rachel Foundation for an undisclosed amount. Courtesy photo

The Ed Rachal Foundation bought yet another iconic piece of property in Corpus Christi. Adding to its March purchase of the Ocean Drive mansion known as “Castle House,” the foundation bought the tower known as Frost Bank Plaza on July 27.

A nonprofit, the Ed Rachal Foundation was established in 1965 by the estate of Ed and Louise Rachal, ranchers in Falfurrias. It is run by a board of directors that decides how to invest the money it derives mostly from oil and gas. It donates millions each year to nonprofits in the Coastal Bend.

The Frost building is the second tallest in downtown Corpus Christi. It was put on the market earlier this year after owners CC Frost Properties Ltd. of California filed for bankruptcy. Frost Bank, which did not own the building, had announced in 2017 that it was building a new headquarters on a vacant lot on South Shoreline Boulevard between Park Avenue and Broadway.

The foundation plans to upgrade the 23-story building and rent space to business professionals and large corporations. Only two blocks from the Ed Rachal Foundation’s own headquarters, Frost Bank Plaza at 802 N. Carancahua St. was built in 1983. At the time, it was the tallest building downtown. When the two towers at One Shoreline Plaza were completed in 1989, only the newcomer’s south tower stood taller at 28 stories.

Plans for Castle House and the property next door to it, which was also purchased by the Ed Rachal Foundation, include building high-end townhomes for purchase. The neighboring property was once owned by the Howard E. Butt family. Butt was the founder of H-E-B groceries.

The Ed Rachal Foundation is mostly known for its philanthropy. According to news reports, the most recent information on how much the foundation is worth dates to 2015. In that year, the foundation gave $16 million of its $52.3 million in worth to a number of organizations in the Coastal Bend. Biggest recipients were Driscoll Children’s Hospital, the Salvation Army, the American Heart Association, and the South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind. Texas A&M University in College Station has received about a third of the foundation’s total distributions for the past 50 years, totaling more than $23 million.

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